Sunday, January 28, 2007

What The Papers Say

So there I was late last evening, sitting on my bed and reading the Saturday edition of The Daily Telegraph. I enjoy simple moments such as these. There were many stories in the lead section, but a few stood out, grabbing my attention:

Page 8 - NICE wants incentives for addicts days after refusing cancer drug

"Drug addicts could win prizes including televisions and MP3 players in clinic lotteries to help them keep off drugs, a Government advisory agency recommended yesterday." According to the report, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had just turned down a new bowel cancer drug for use on the UK's National Health System three days earlier. NICE said it realised its ideas were "controversial".

Page 11 - Girl recycled her rubbish and council threatened her with jail

A environmentally-conscious girl in East Sussex wanted to send a used cardboard box for recycling. The recycling bin, however, was full. As such, she placed the box right next to it. “The 12 year-old was (then) issued with a notice stating that illegal dumping carries a £50,000 penalty and possible six-month jail sentence.” How did the local council track her down? Well, apparently officials scrutinized the box, found her details on it, and decided to go after her.

Page 13 – Police refuse to chase bike thieves not wearing helmets

Two brothers in Manchester had their motorbikes stolen, and duly reported the loss to the local police. Did the authorities manage to find the thieves? Reportedly, they did. However, they couldn’t give chase, because the suspects weren’t wearing helmets. An inspector at the road policing unit said, “In situations like this officers need to carefully consider the safety of all road users before deciding whether or not to begin a pursuit.”

Page 15 – Head is told he cannot open boy’s lunch box

“Head teachers have been told they cannot look inside children’s lunch boxes for fear of contravening their human rights.” A 10 year old student in Kent had earlier been thrown out of the school dining room after the school noticed that his lunch items “contravened the school’s healthy food policy.” According to the assistant secretary general of the Association of School and College Leaders, teachers can open a child’s lunch box “only with a police officer present or with parental permission.”

Page 15 – School bans football because balls hurt

“The lunchtime kick-about, a feature of school life for generations, has been banned in a school because pupils might get hurt.” The head teacher of a school in Buckinghamshire banned the games after a teacher was struck while crossing the playground. The school is reputed to boast of modern sports training facilities. “But the head teacher said pupils were abusing the facilities by ‘kicking balls quite hard’ at each other.”

What do you make of all this? An accurate snapshot of a society? Or a biased sampling? For me, I think I'll have more fun reading The Sun instead.


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